Treasuring Every Moment

Erin and Charley Grant with daughter Emory.

Meet the 2019 Signature Chefs Ambassador Family

By Annalee Hubbs
Photos by
Kathryn Harrington

“As a parent, there is nothing more important than the health and wellness of your child.”

Like many mothers in the United States, Erin Grant was quickly introduced to March of Dimes when her daughter, Emory, was born prematurely and faced some of the health threats that come with premature birth. Now, Grant is the Ambassador Mom for March of Dimes’ 2019 Signature Chefs Auction and is enjoying watching her healthy daughter grow.

March of Dimes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports mothers and their premature babies through research, advocacy, education and partnerships. The charity is dedicated to prioritizing the health of mothers and their babies, especially when that mother’s pregnancy does not go as planned.

The Signature Chefs Auction brings people together to raise awareness and funds for March of Dimes through food and community – all to ensure the health and happiness of newborn babies.

“(My husband and I) want to be sure that other parents are aware of the incredible resources available to them through March of Dimes,” Grant said.

According to March of Dimes’ research, every year 6,092 babies are born prematurely in Kentucky alone. In many instances, the cause of premature birth is unknown and under-researched. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for babies in the United States.

For 80 years, March of Dimes has been committed to advocating for mothers and babies who have experienced such events. As for Grant’s experience, it all started abruptly. Before the birth of Emory, Grant and her husband, Charley Grant, were entirely unfamiliar with the March of Dimes and the resources they provide for families in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Erin Grant said her pregnancy was normal and healthy until the last month, when her iron levels dropped very low. She had to receive intravenous iron treatments, meaning iron was injected by needle into her veins.

Emory was born three weeks early at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital. After the birth, Grant’s doctors found that Emory had been fighting an unknown virus for some time in Grant’s womb. She was just over four pounds when she was born, and she had severely low platelet counts.

Emory ended up spending three weeks in the NICU, during which time she had several platelet transfusions and other tests done to try and detect which virus she had been fighting in the womb. While she started to gain weight and show great progress, the Grant family was no closer to an explanation.

“What has been the most incredible to realize is that (March of Dimes) was fighting for Emory and our family before we even knew it,” Grant said, adding that she also felt supported at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital throughout the process.

In 2018, Grant joined the March of Dimes Board of Directors in Louisville because she wanted to be more involved – and because her company, Kroger, has always been a supporter of the organization. She said that through all of this, she has learned so much about how it supports families just like hers.

“March of Dimes is looking for the unknown answers of premature birth and supporting families along the way,” she said.

There are many women out in the world with stories similar to Grant’s. The March of Dimes’ Signature Chefs Auction is a way for people in Louisville to support the mothers and babies within their community.

This year, the Signature Chefs Auction is 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Omni Hotel and will include 30 local chefs and restaurants for the tasting event.

On what it means to be a part of Signature Chefs as an ambassador, Grant said that she finds it incredible to be able to share her family’s story. She also looks forward to sharing information about the resources available to others through the March of Dimes and this event.

“It is unquestionably difficult to relive all that has happened, but it makes our family so incredibly grateful for every single moment that we have,” Grant said. “It reminds us that this is an opportunity to truly help others.” V

To learn more or purchase tickets to the Signature Chefs Auction, visit signaturechefs.marchofdimes.org/louisville or call Carolyn Harper at 502.473.6682.